Bill Gates transferred a whopping $1.8 billion in stocks to wife Melinda Gates on the day the couple announced their divorce. The transfer was made by one of Bill's investment firms and is being considered to be one of the many public transactions the estranged couple is expected to make in the coming days as they start splitting their massive assets.
Bill is the fourth richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $130 billion, which will now be split between him and Melinda over the course of time. The billionaire Microsoft founder and Melinda announced their divorce on Monday, ending their 27-year marriage. The couple has three adult children.
Splitting His Fortunes
Hours after Bill and Melinda made official their divorce on Twitter, Cascade Investment transferred more than 14 million shares of Canadian National Railway to Melinda, according to a securities filing. Cascade Investment is a holding company that was formed by Bill to manage much of his financial assets.
Based on Wednesday's share price, these 14 million shares are worth $1.5 billion. Besides, Cascade Investment also transferred another 2.9 million shares of AutoNation, a company selling cars, which are worth $300 million, thus taking the total to $1.8 billion.
The transferred shares account for over 3 percent of all outstanding AutoNation stock, and around 2 percent of The Canadian National Railway. Monday's transfer appears to be the first in a series of transactions that is expected to take place over the next few months, as the couple split their $130 million fortune and walk their ways.
The couple's divorce petition, which was filed Monday in King County Superior Court in Washington state, indicated that they don't have a prenuptial agreement to distribute their estimated $130 billion in assets. This is likely to make the asset division a lengthy and complicated process.
The Process Begins
Bill has hired 97-year-old billionaire lawyer Charlie T Munger to represent him in the divorce. Understandably, he wants an experienced and trustworthy name to handle his divorce and the wealth division process given the absence of a prenuptial agreement.
However, the first of the transactions made on Monday indicates that the couple appears a lot of work toward dividing up their estate has already been done, as their divorce papers repeatedly refer to a 'separation contract' which both have signed. The contract itself has not been made public.
Bill $130 billion fortune includes properties in five states, a private jet, an astonishing art collection and a fleet of luxury cars among others. Besides, Bill also has huge assets in the form of American farmlands.
Reports of the transaction that were first reported by the DailyMail, come to light after the couple's eldest daughter, Jennifer Gates, 25, revealed on Monday that the family has been going through a "challenging stretch of time.
Jennifer spoke out about the divorce announcement on Instagram on Monday afternoon, writing: "I'm still learning how to best support my own process and emotions as well as my family members at this time and am grateful for the space to do so."
Cascade Investment, which reportedly manages a whopping $30 billion of Bill's personal financial holdings, will be one of the key assets to watch in the coming days.